Wolfgang Career Coaching and Coaching 4 Good, meet the CEO and Certified Career and Leadership Coach Amy Wolfgang
Interview with Amy Wolfgang, conducted by local REALTOR® Kathy Sokolic
Career coaching for individuals and companies.
What’s your story?
I was working as a career coach in the business school at UT, I was teaching a class and I really loved my job. I was working with 18- to 22-year-old students, which is great, but I wanted to expand a bit to people mid-career. I decided that I wanted to open my own side coaching business to reach that audience, and at the same time, found out I was pregnant with my first daughter. I carried the stability and insurance for my family at the time as well, so I knew switching to my own company was risky. What if I tell my daughter she could do anything she wanted, but I didn’t do what I wanted? I couldn’t live with the integrity of myself if I didn’t take this risk. So I took the plunge in January 2011, really for her. I took my maternity leave from UT and I was seeing one or two clients a night (not actively marketing myself). When school started back up, I worked at UT part time. As soon as I gave my resignation at UT, my phone started ringing for the new business.
Describe your business.
Wolfgang Career Coaching focuses on individuals while Coaching 4 Good, our new organization, focuses on organizations. Wolfgang Career Coaching helps with the questions of “What do I want to be when I grow up” or “I hate my job, what else can I do?” all the way to tactical resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and interviewing. The inner work of the being (who you are, self-awareness, understanding what’s important to you) and the doing (actions you take).
Coaching 4 Good is bringing humanity back into the workplace. My business partner Michelle and I both worked in corporate America. We have seen that people stopped relating to one another on a human level and we want to foster that back in. That connection has a direct impact on how fulfilled you are in your career. We are bringing the coaching into organizations along with our workshops and emerging leader programs. We do both horizontal development, i.e. the hard skills and vertical development that helps you look at who you are. It is the ‘being’ work and the ‘doing’ work.
Wolfgang Career Coaches also have an exclusive partnership with the Texas Exes at the University of Texas, as they closed their in-house career services, and we can provide reduced fee services for those folks. It’s such an honor to be involved with that group and program.
What made you decide to open this business?
No one teaches you how to own your career. Many people start out in their career by just falling into it, or it’s something they thought was a good idea at the time. Later, people may decide that career isn’t for them, but they don’t know what to do. I want to empower people to own their careers, and teach them how to do that. We work for roughly 40 years of our lives. When I was in corporate America, I was so unfulfilled that I had the “blue flu,” or the depression that comes on Sunday night, knowing that you have to go to work the next day.
What would your customers say they love most about your business?
This is a place of possibility. People are surrounded by people telling you “you can’t do that,” or people are coming from a place of fear. Most people aren’t verbalizing the struggles in their career with other people, and we normalize it. We’re someone you can talk to who is an objective third party.
What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had working with a customer?
It comes down to a common theme: I see a lot of individuals who recognize strength in others, but not in themselves. They feel they don’t have value. We start working together and they start seeing the value they bring to the table, the skills they have, and what they can contribute, they start believing in themselves and recognizing what’s in there. When they’ve gotten to that point, there’s no better feeling. About 90% of my clients cry during our sessions! It’s a tremendous personal growth for them. When they realize what an incredible human being they are, it gets me too! As a human, they are so valuable.
What is something most people don’t know about the business?
People don’t really understand what coaching is. People understand resumes, interviewing, and LinkedIn. The career answers are within you – and what a coach does is ask the questions to help bring out information that brings you the clarity to get those answers. It’s like a counselor with respect to privacy and personal growth, but we focus on the present and the future. We are your partner. Even I have a coach to help me grow personally and professionally.
What do you like most about being an entrepreneur?
I was not raised to be an entrepreneur. My father taught me to get a job and stay with a company. His parents were farmers, and since no one can control the weather, it was an unstable field. He went for stability, and that’s what he imparted on me. Now that I’m here, I can’t imagine working for a corporation again! When I started, I didn’t know how to be an entrepreneur. I missed collaboration with other people, and I didn’t have anyone to bounce ideas off. I also have trouble asking for help, and did every piece of the business myself – accounting, marketing, IT, and that doesn’t leave a lot of time for anything else! It’s ok to get help! I really love the creative freedom of being my own boss. That and the freedom of time. I get to create my own schedule and spend time with my family.
Do you have any advice that you want to share with other entrepreneurs?
You have to find your people and ask for help. Also, leave your perfectionist qualities at the door. Design at the whiteboard and get the best viable product out as soon as you can, and then go from there. Don’t be paralyzed with thinking that you need to be perfect all the time.
What do you love about this neighborhood?
When we were looking for a house, we had such a small wish list: 3 bedrooms, two car garage, and a community. Mueller has all this, but what a community it is! It is such a diverse extended family, and that is the piece that you just don’t get anywhere else.
What are your favorite places to go in the neighborhood?
Everything revolves around having young children. We are outside a lot, on the trails, at the park, or at the pool. I also love the Mueller Neighborhood Association events, such as the Egg Scrambles, the Fall Festivals…all these events are so amazing. And there are so many kids around the same age, and they’re all sharing toys, and having fun. This is what I wanted for our kids growing up. As humans, we are wired for connection, and that’s what Mueller brings. We love going to the Thinkery, going to Torchy’s and Bribery Bakery. To be able to walk everywhere is so great, and being able to leave my car behind is priceless.
Why do you think it’s important for people to shop local?
It’s about a connection and a relationship. In this digital age, we’ve lost that connection piece. Not that technology is bad, but that sense of connection is lost. Adding in that connection really feeds our souls.
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